Pretty Milkweed Caterpillar

This is a photo of a milkweed tussock moth.

It looks like tufting from an oriental rug.

This is this caterpillar’s pretty stage. When it matures, it is a brown gray tiger moth. Dull and uninteresting.

What is interesting about this hairy caterpillar is that, like a Monarch, it feeds on milkweed. And the cardiac glycosides in the milkweed make it an unappealing meal to its primary predator, the bat.

But the really curious part is the milkweed tiger moth emits an ultrasonic signal that is readily picked up by bats. The bats have learned to associate that sound with a bad taste in their mouths and avoid the tiger moth as a meal.

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Thanks, Jess for finding this beauty and sharing its picture.

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